This isn’t what I imagined our marriage would look like. I knew going in that every marriage goes through difficult times. I didn’t walk down the isle with some fairytale idea in my head. But this…this is the opposite of what I expected.
I knew you were the one God had planned for me to marry shortly after I met you. But it took me a while to accept that someone so decent and kind had planned to spend the rest of his life with me. After all, I was (am) a mess! I came with so much baggage. So much dysfunction. Just trying to make my way toward the goal of living a “normal” life. Career, house, marriage, kids…my daily prayer was simply to live a life of minimal drama. To be a wife and a mother and hopefully, somehow, be fairly good at both.
You made me a wife and mother all within that first year. Nothing exposes your flaws like having others depend on you day in and day out. I didn’t adjust well. You stuck it out. You stood by my side as I navigated a sea of emotions, discovering that I didn’t know how to love, or be loved, well. I pushed you away. You simply loved me.
Your arms were there to catch me the day we were given our firstborn’s diagnosis. When the world beneath me gave way…when the pain was too deep and I was crushed by the weight of worry and uncertainty…you knew that words wouldn’t fix it. You just held me while I sobbed until there were no tears left. You were there and you were strong when I couldn’t be.
Two more baby girls and several medical scares later, I reached for your hand. You were always there. Without fail. The days became about survival. One moment at a time. My stress level climbed, caught in a whirlwind of blessings on a battlefield. I’d push forward until my breaking point, and then you’d bring me the gift of those four priceless words: “We’ll get through this.”
We. I felt so alone, until there was you.
Every morning I rolled out of bed, barely able to pull myself together. Standing at the kitchen counter, too tired to put my makeup on, I’d try to decide whether to start on the stack of medical bills or the spilled cereal first. And every morning, you’d kiss me on the forehead and tell me I looked beautiful. Every morning. In the moment I felt most defeated and least attractive, you saw the beauty in me.
The days blurred together. The challenges didn’t let up. There was no room to breathe. But we had our balancing act down. It was chaos, but it was chaos we were accustomed to. As long as nothing else got added in, we were going to be okay. You assured me…everything would be fine. This, of course, was the time God asked us to have our fourth child.
You continued to tell me I looked beautiful as I waddled around after our daughters, hugely pregnant with our son…and again as I held him in my arms for the first time. You thanked me for giving you four amazing children. You didn’t take my labor of love for granted.
You were patient in waiting for my time and attention when I was constantly pulled in four different directions. Always full of grace and forgiveness for all the ways I let you down. You chose to put me first, when it would’ve been so easy to be selfish. You chose to stand by my side, when it would’ve been so easy to walk away.
There is no end in sight to the trials. We may never be able to go on romantic getaways, or even get a full night of sleep in our own bed. We may always be buried in medical bills. We will fail over and over again in so many areas of parenting and marriage and everything in between. There will always be the temptation to compare our worst days to everyone else’s best days. But there will always be the truth that this life that we’ve been given is more deeply joy-filled than either of us could’ve ever imagined. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Life can be a mess sometimes, but this mess is beautiful because you’re in the middle of it with me.
I don’t often feel like I can offer you much. I don’t deserve you. You are more than I ever expected. But I’m more thankful for you than words could ever say. Just know that my love for you is unwavering. Nothing makes me question it. It only strengthens and deepens over time.
I’m by your side. Until the end.